Kwantlen Polytechnic University President David Atkinson to depart leaving a legacy of growth

Thu, Feb 17, 2011



For immediate release

February 18, 2011

Kwantlen Polytechnic University President David Atkinson to depart leaving a legacy of growth

(Surrey, B.C.) After three years of work transforming Kwantlen Polytechnic University from a university college into a university, President and Vice-Chancellor David Atkinson will be leaving the university to join Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta as their president.

Atkinson's career in academia has taken him from his home province of Alberta to the University of Saskatchewan, where he was appointed Dean of Arts and Science. He also spent a number of years as President and Vice-Chancellor of both Brock and Carleton Universities. In 2008, he was appointed President of Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

"Being at Kwantlen has been one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my professional career," says Atkinson "We have made tremendous strides, in large measure due to the commitment, energy and passion of the faculty, staff and students at this university."

Under Atkinson's tenure, the university has grown in both the scope and number of programs offered to Metro Vancouver students. Today, Kwantlen offers more than 135 programs to students and has expanded beyond the traditional faculties of BC's universities by incorporating unique programs in the fields of design, horticulture, business, health sciences, trades and technology. In the past year, more than one dozen new degree programs have been approved by the Ministry of Education for Kwantlen.

Atkinson also presided over a significant surge in student enrolment. Since his appointment as president, Kwantlen has expanded its student population every year. The university is now operating at full capacity with another record year for enrolment on the horizon.

Atkinson says his departure to Grant MacEwan this summer is driven by his wish to return home to Alberta, a province where he grew up and first began his academic career. He received the lion's share of his post-secondary education at the University of Calgary. He also began his academic career at the University of Lethbridge in 1976, where he taught for fifteen years, first in the Department of English and then in the Department of Religious Studies.

Most of his family members still reside in the province and he says he hopes the move will allow him to spend more time with them.

"It's not going to be easy to leave such a great university, but at a certain point in life you yearn to go home to be where your family is," says Atkinson. "I'm looking forward to taking on new challenges at Grant MacEwan University."

He will assume his new role as president of Grant MacEwan University on July 1, 2011.

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